My apologies if anyone has been wondering if I will ever post again… last month, this happened: Both the blanket and the baby. 🙂 Of allll the yarn-related projects I’ve made, I didn’t have a single thing specifically for my … Continue reading
Hi all! I apologize for being remiss in my blogging – I’ve had this pattern ready to go for weeks, but then suddenly allergies and hives attacked my body and I’ve been doped up on antihistamines and that’s just not … Continue reading
I am so excited for today’s project share with all of you! I first saw these ages ago on – you guessed it – Pinterest, and immediately fell in lurv. They didn’t have a name, pattern or any sort of copyright, so immediately I busted out my reverse engineering skills.
I love natural materials: wood, fiber, leather, etc. This project combines ALL THREE. It’s really straightforward… it modifies your basic mary-jane bootie pattern, and totally elevates the street value with just teeny additions of luxurious leather and wood. Once you show these babies off, your friends will universally acknowledge you as empress of the crafting universe. I’d also promise that you’ll also physically turn into Shakira’s doppleganger, but seeing as I’m still waiting for my hips to stop telling lies, I can’t guarantee that last bit.
You will need the following:
- DK yarn (preferably something including wool, just so you can feel uber natural, like your entire project came freshly sheared off of a humble sheep, hand scavenged from your local forest, and um, nobly sacrificed from whatever animal your leather belongs to…)
- This pattern
- Size 5 (or 6) knitting needles
- Teeny tiny scraps of leather for the straps
- Wood buttons (or you can use felt like the original link)
- Yarn needle to sew up bootie seams
- Something sharp to poke holes in your leather (embroidery needle or small awl)
- Sharp scissors to cut said leather
I wasn’t planning on using the exact same color scheme as the original source, but when I went to Joann’s to find some appropriate DK yarn, they just so happened to have Paton’s DK superwash wool, in taupe, on clearance, for $.97 a skein. I mean, 97 cents, okay. Honestly, I would have never chosen taupe myself since by itself it’s kind of a weird yucky color, but it works perfectly here.
Quick insert of The Leather Saga: (bear with me, it has an awesome ending.)
I first saw these shoes, oh, about 15 weeks ago (says Pinterest). The reason why it’s taken me so long to get these made is that I didn’t have the leather. I was in China without access to big box craft stores where I knew I could buy a patch for $3. Of course, I could probably have gone on another all-day adventure to find some, but my desire to procure a 1/2″x 2″ scrap simply to make some baby booties was not that high. Once I even walked by a leather stall in a random shopping area above a deserted Jinkelong, thought ooh, I should go back and beg a scrap sometime, but that didn’t happen either.
Then I came to the U.S. In my first few days I went to Michaels in search of leather. Their aisle marked “leather goods and tools” only contained felt, pom poms, and googly eyes. Fail, Michaels. I’ll look somewhere else. Turns out their aisles were simply mis-labeled, but fortuitous for me, because…
That very afternoon, I went home to my parents’ house, and whaddya know… there was a large pile of leather scraps sitting on their living room table. You know, the kind with metal grommets that probably once belonged to a furniture store as their color samples. It turns out a friend of theirs had bought them for pennies at a garage sale, never figured out a use for them, she bu de (there’s that word again – couldn’t bear to) throw them out, so she gave them to my mom when SHE moved back to China, and there they sat, because my own mom was she bu de to throw them away either.
Anyway, story summary: my mom had literally two pounds of free leather scraps, was never planning on using them, but was never planning on throwing them away either. So now… THEY’RE MINE!! And they were ALL FREEEEE! And when I say “leather scraps”, I mean… LEATHER SCRAPS:
1) How many booties could I make with this??? 2) I started a new Pinterest board entitled “Leather Scrap Projects” and I need your input please. 🙂
Okay, end of story, back to project.
Start knitting your booties using this pattern. The pattern says size 6 needles will net 6-12 month booties. I used size 5 and mine were about 3.5″ long, which was what I was going for. STOP knitting after row 16. Bind off and sew up booties. They’ll basically be little shoes.
Obtain leather scrap by whatever means necessary. You should be able to just use sharp scissors to cut it, no need for special tools here.
Cut two long skinny strips for straps. This took a bit of trial and error for me. Make sure they’re thick enough to poke at least one hole to sew onto your shoe – I wanted it thick enough for two holes, so mine are pretty thick.
Second obstacle: poking holes into said leather. After many days of searching stores for little teeny leather hole punchers or something of the sort, it turns out my mom also had a very random mini-awl that she picked up on the streets of Taiwan for like 60 cents. You can probably just use a sharp needle and a thimble (so you don’t skewer yourself). I wanted to use yarn for my sewing so I needed a bigger hole, but a needle will work just fine with regular embroidery thread.
Poke holes into leather on both sides. I wanted four, but my leather wasn’t big enough, so I just poked two holes and did one stitch on each end. Using yarn scraps or embroidery thread, sew one side onto the shoe, sew the other side through at least one (or all) of your buttonholes. Step back, admire your work, and wait for the compliments to come showering in!
One day (like, back in December-when-it-was-still-cold one day), as I was trawling across Pinterest like I do, I came across this pin:
The caption of the pin read: “DIY Incredible Knitted Mustard Hat – Super Easy and Awesome”. Ooh! I thought. Super easy awesome free knitted hat pattern! So I clicked it. The link took me here: a fashion design blog written in French, with beautiful designs, gorgeous handmade products for sale, and nary a knitting pattern in sight.
So, being the masochist that I am, I decided to figure out the pattern by myself. It couldn’t be that hard, right? Just some sort of rib with a wide wale, and a huge pompom on top?
As my not-so-subtle leading question would imply, with any pattern I attempt to replicate, the project took me many, many, many evenings of researching knitted rib patterns, figuring out how they work in the round, how to decrease them, the appropriate gauge, etc etc etc. However, after many dribbling tears, I think I’ve finally got this hat (more or less) in my adult head size.
The trick to this hat is a stitch known loosely as “brioche”, or “fisherman rib”, or “prime rib”… honestly, I have no idea what the technical term is, because each of those stitches has a few different variations. Plus, the skills behind each stitch varied excessively widely from one source to the next. There were all sorts of skippings, slippings, knitting fronts and backs, etc. But, the one I found to be the easiest was the most straightforward: k1, k1 below, repeat. The end. The result is a very stretchy, giving fabric.
(I think *technically* the stitch in the pictured hat above is a “brioche“, vs. the stitch I’m using is “fisherman rib“, or a “brioche rib“, but whatever, my version is easy and it gets the point across, yes?)
(Please excuse my ghetto-fabulous styrofoam head purchased for $2.99 at a thrift shop. It suffered major structural damange in the move to China. At least the hat covers the giant dent in the top of the head…)
I’ve used my ever-favorite Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick N Quick yarn, and size 13/15 16″ circular needles for this project. To replicate the beautiful smooth design of the original photo, I assume you can use a nice fancy thick single ply roving alpaca wool. One of these days I’ll actually pony up and buy some.
To knit this hat, you will need to know the following:
- k1 below
- p1 below
K1 below and p1 below sound waaay scarier than they really are. Here is a picture tutorial on how to do both from the ever-dependable Purl Bee. Here is a great video for k1 below, and here is a great video for p1 below. Read/watch through them, be ready to try them out. Ready? Okay!
Cast on 42 stitches with size 13 needles (16″ circular). Join to work in the round and place marker.
Rows 1-5: k1, p1 rib
Row 6: switch to size 15 needles. K2tog, p1 below, repeat around. (28 st left)
NOTE 1: On this row, when you p1 below, you will be purling into a knit stitch every other purl due to the stitch groupings of 3. Do not be alarmed. Purl into the knit stitch (BELOW, drop that top loop off!) and continue with faith. You will also have what seems to be now a ridiculously small hat. Again, faith, my friends, and carry on!
Row 7: k1 below (into the k2tog stitch), p1 as normal into the p1 below stitch from previous row. Repeat around.
NOTE 2: this row is going to look like a hot mess. You’re going to wonder if you’re doing it right, because it looks really ugly; there will be weird lumps and loops everywhere. Keep that faith going – it’ll be about four rows of ribbing before the hat pattern starts to look ‘right’. I promise it looks better on your head.
A quick photo tutorial on “k1 below into k2tog stitch”:
Row 8: k1 as normal (into k1 below stitch), p1 below. Repeat around.
Row 9: k1 below, p1 as normal (into p1 below stitch). Repeat around.
Rows 10 and on: repeat rows 8 and 9 until hat measures about 6.5-7″ in length. (This was about 12 rows of fisherman rib for me.) Make sense? You’ll be alternating k1/p1below and k1below/p1 every row.
Decrease sequence: (transfer onto DPNs at this point)
Row 1-3: k1, p1 in a regular rib around. (Keep these rows loose otherwise they bunch up from the fisherman rib)
Row 4: k2tog, repeat to end of round.
Row 5: knit
Row 6: ssk, repeat to end of round. Draw tight, fasten off.
Make extremely large pompom. (As always, I tout my extra large pompom maker from Clover.) You’ll have two tails from tying it together; use these to thread into hat, sew a few stitches to secure, and then tie a square knot. Secure some more, and fasten off. The very top of the hat will look a little off from the fisherman rib. The pompom should cover up any weirdness.
Squash hat on head and proceed to feel very hipster. Hooray for hipster hats!
FINAL NOTE: you can probably make this hat easily using a real brioche stitch and you will probably end up with better results. Be sure to let me know if you do.
So, I’ve been knitting for a year now. I’ve learned a *lot* of things. I still have a million light years to go. There is just SO MUCH terminology out there! It’s literally learning a new language as well as a whole world of knowledge that is completely non-existent outside the yarn microcosm, and therefore nothing you’d ever just pick up by osmosis, like watching people play poker in the movies and knowing that if it were ever you, definitely don’t bleed from your eye when you’re bluffing. That will always get you killed.
For example, I have yet to try anything beyond a long tail cast-on. They all have these weird, foreign, fancy sounding names and it’s just too much for me. I recently found a website that listed no less than eleven ways. ELEVEN. The titles included such gems as “German twisted”, “Turkish”, “Italian”, “Channel Island”, “Estonian”… can these Europeans just get their act together and agree on one way to do it? With crochet, you tie a slip knot, and start. The end.
Anyhoo, with the weirdness that comes with knitting, I’ve also learned a few key terms that totally make my knitting day:
- As the title of this blog implies, knitting in the round. I still haven’t quite figured out the science of how knitting in the round = stockinette while knitting flat = knit and purl, and my rows are always, ALWAYS lumpy and leave weird garter gaps in the back. But oh, if you can make anything in the round, it’s just so much faster and easier.
- Seamless: knitting in the round naturally leads to seamless items. It’s not so much that I hate seaming (it’s actually really satisfying to stitch the two pieces together and watch your ugly curled edges magically disappear), but there is just something about knitting something flat, and then knowing you still have to wash it, block it, pull those stray yarns out of the drain like unclogging hair (gag), dry it, and THEN seam it that just makes the work so unfulfilling.
- Sleeveless: Okay, I have a caveat on knitting in the round. The one thing I hate more than washing/drying/seaming/undoing stitches/picking out rows/picking up dropped stitches, is knitting on DPNs. As I mentioned before, it’s just hazardous, and I still haven’t figured out the ladders. So, anything sans sleeves = fabulous.
Here are two recent examples of seamless + sleeves = sweet, sweet knitting love. Sorry, future knitting recipients – you’d better all be having girls since sleeveless tubes of clothing don’t *really* lend to boys.
Also, to that end, here are some of my queued projects on Ravelry if you want to experience your own knitting nirvana. (Click on photo to open pattern in new window.)
The first grandchild on either my husband’s side or mine was born a few weeks ago. You can envision the excitement this stirred in my husband’s family… imagine something like unto the Lion King when Simba is reverently held up to the sky. His brother and wife were waiting to find out if it was a boy or girl, so I had a fun challenge trying to come up with gender-neutral items. In the end I’m lucky it turned out to be a boy, cause apparently “gender neutral” means “boy clothing that doesn’t directly involve sports teams.” But I had a feeling it was going to be a boy all along… hence the Packers mittens. 🙂
Welcome to the world, New Nephew!
We all have them. Treasured in boxes, stored on shelves, lovingly collected, often taken out and admired, never used. I’m talking about our yarn stash – and not just those random leftover balls of yarn from prior projects, but those precious one-time purchases from random boutique yarn shops, or travels across the country/world, or colorways that you bought thinking “this is AWESOME, I’m sure I can find the perfect project for purple/green/mauve/mulberry yarn!” And of course, since you only bought one (because it was probably $25 and it’s not like you need two balls of purplegreenmauve yarn), and said ball of $25 yarn is, I’m sure, in a special dye lot, there you have it, that now lone ball that can never be multiplied, never turned into anything larger than a small scarflet or hat or MAYBE a pair of gloves. It just sits on the shelf, enticing you with its possibilities, begging to be used but somehow begging more to be left alone and simply admired for the things that might be, but never are. That’s how it is with my Malabrigo merino yarn, purchased in my home town in upstate New York on a quick three day leave from Beijing. It’s so soft, so beautiful, so variegated, that I’m pretty sure I’ll always just keep it, a lone hank of wonderful yarn that I occasionally pick up and rub. I know, I’m weird, but I have a feeling you yarners out there will understand.
There’s a word in Chinese: she bu de (捨不得), that best translates to “hate to do/hate to part with” that perfectly sums up my attitude towards my precious stash. I am she bu de to use it up and commit it to something solid. Sometimes I prefer to just look at the un-knit/un-crocheted yarn and simply consider the possibilities of ‘what if’?
However, today I’m here to not just wax poetic on really expensive fancy yarn, but also to submit my personal collection (across Pinterest, Ravelry, and Etsy) of potential she bu de yarn busters. These all fast, almost all free, and yarn-budget-friendly, with simple stitches that showcase said yarn, and hopefully are pretty enough to deserve that skein you’ve been holding onto since 1998. I’ve done some of them, others I’m still holding on to for future she bu de yarn purchases. One can never have too many cowls… right?
(Click on picture to go to pattern link)
If you’ve REALLY got a lot of time, colorways, and desire to make sooper rainbow mitts, here you go.
I love pretty much anything from the Purl Bee, and their yarn is always gorgeous. Plus, free patterns!
If you’ve got just a bit of extra luxurious soft yarn, whip up this hat for a baby.
First cowl of the day! I love the wooden buttons.
So maybe this doesn’t necessarily need luxury yarn, but omg c’mon, this pattern is awesome.
This is one of the most popular patterns on Ravelry, and for good reason – it’s hard to find a very manly yet cool standard hat that any guy will be willing to wear. Ask my husband.
I’ve had this one saved for ages, and even bought eight skeins of Bernat roving to make it. I just got distracted by the forty other projects in the time it took the yarn to come in the mail. #toomuchyarn
For your super bulky yarn, this one whips up in a jiffy and is gorgeous with the repeating leaf pattern.
If you’ve got a bit of extra yarn, this baby jacket is wonderful. It’s classic and works well for both boys and girls, and can be embellished to the nines with buttons or flowers or trim.
I could go on all day, but for the sake of your tired eyes I’ll stop. What are some of your favorite patterns for fancy yarn??
A few months ago I discovered this fantastic pattern for a quick and sporty toddler/child hat. I totally luuuurved it – it was fast, it was easy, it was my first time knitting stripes, the boy factor was most definitely there, and the color combinations (read: sports team related) are endless. It was a great way to use smallish amounts of my ever-increasing Lion Brand Thick n Quick collection, PLUS two Christmasses ago I had gotten a whole collection of pom pom makers that I’d never actually used. Win!
When my husband saw these, he immediately wanted one in the University of Michigan colors. Apparently, Lion Brand’s dark navy blue and citron yellow don’t cut it. For a guy who can’t tell the difference between purple and orange on any given day, he suddenly becomes an expert on the nuances between “maize” and “mustard” when it comes to his beloved football team. In an effort to find the right color yarn, in the right weight and texture, I had to expand my yarn choices to Lion Brand Homespun, a similar weight yarn in a shinier acrylic that I wasn’t a huge fan of (it’s not terribly elastic), but darn it if the colors weren’t more accurate for his precious Wolverines.
Anyway, this is by no means a “look what I created!” pattern, because I very obviously fashioned it off of Fiberflux, but here is what I did for a (very) large men’s head. My own head is also ginormous (23″) and my husband’s is 24″. The hat fit my head fine, I just had to add a few rows for his head.
Cast on 44 stitches with size 13 needles (16″ circular) in main color (MC)
Rows 1-5: k2, p2 rib
Row 6: switch to size 15 needles.
Knit two rows in MC, two rows in second color (CC), alternate two rows MC/two rows CC for three rows of CC total
Continue knitting in MC until hat measures 6″/6.5″ (for 23″ or 24″ head) – this ended up being about 16 stockinette rows total for my husband, probably about 14 rows for myself. Begin decrease sequence. If your own head is a much more normal 21″-22″, cast on 40 stitches instead of 44. I’d still knit 14 rows though.
Row 1: *k2tog, k3, repeat from * to end of round.
Row 2: knit
Row 3: *k2tog, k2, repeat from * to end of round.
Row 4: switch to dpns, knit
Row 5: *k2tog, k1, repeat from * to end of round.
Row 6: knit
Row 7: k2tog around.
Row 8: k2tog around, fasten off.
Make extremely large pompom. You’ll have two tails from tying it together; use these to thread into hat, sew a few stitches to secure, and then tie a square knot. Secure some more, and fasten off.
So. Pom poms. Although as previously stated, I had four pompom makers, sadly the largest one still came woefully short regarding adequate fluffy balls (yes, snicker). Therefore, I had to go online and order an additional one, the largest pom pom maker I could find. It look something like five weeks to get here, by which time said husband’s head was getting pretty durn chilly. Glad it finally came though, he loves his hat and wears it everywhere!
Please ignore the fact that the first stripe is obviously three rows up from the other two, not two rows as previously stated in the pattern. I was watching Wrath of the Titans for like the eightieth time (hey, U.S. television is limited in China), was distracted by the Medusa scene, lost count, and by the time I realized I was off I was waaaaay too lazy to rip it back down and fix it. Husband didn’t worry at all though, apparently men don’t care about miscounted rows.
Knitting with double pointed needles is daaangerous. You never know when one of these suckers is going to put your eye out. But I’ll be darned if they don’t get the job done when it comes to cute baby leggings… … Continue reading
I found this adorable cable baby hat pattern a few months ago. Ravelry and Pinterest are my new addictions – any time I find myself with a spare minute/hour, I’m on one or the other. This hat caught my eye because the photo was a super cute baby (see???) and the pattern seemed relatively simple enough for my novice knitting skills. You can easily access it here.
I got really excited when I discovered this pattern used fingering weight yarn. Not that I was actually excited to knit with what basically ends up being skewers and string, but that I had recently spent an inordinate amount of money buying almost every colorway of Lion Brand Cone Wool yarn – a “100% virgin wool” that came in something like 2000 yards for $20. It was a steal in my book – until it came in the mail and I saw just exactly how thin ‘fingering’ weight yarn is. Whoops.
Anyway, since I have no plans to spend my days knitting socks (because I am just not that good, nor am I dedicated enough to spend entire weeks of my life to items of clothing that will just get stinky and have to be washed after every wear), this pattern was interesting to me also because it promised to ‘grow’ with the baby. What does that mean? Well dear readers, let me introduce to you a Quick Lesson on Baby Heads.
Having never given birth myself, I always just assumed that baby heads grew at a proportional rate of the rest of the body – comes out tiny (usually about 12 inches around), a little bit the first year, a little more the second year, etc. I had measured enough adult heads to figure the average to be aboooout 22 inches. Imagine my surprise, then, when four years ago when I first started making hats, my coworker wanted one for her 12 month old, and measured her little skull to be 19 inches around. 19???? We were both boggled. Surely it’s not possible for such a tiny creature to have a head that’s 85% of an adult. No WONDER they have such a hard time rolling over and lifting that noggin up, learning how to stand, walk, etc. That is some serious topweight these little tykes are carrying around.
(Another fun trick: have you ever lifted your arms above your head? Yes you, lift them up and see how far they reach. The top of your head comes to about your elbows, right? Now try it on a baby. Go ahead. Now chortle with amusement.)
Anyhoo, given the approximate EIGHT inches in diameter that a baby’s head grows in the first year, I end up having to be really specific about my hat patterns regarding how old the baby will be/season of the year/whether it’ll fit, etc. Depending on the pattern, I sometimes end up having to make four sizes for a baby’s first year. Here is where knitting has the upper hand – it’s sooper stretchy and therefore very forgiving.
When I *finally* finished the hat, I was pleasantly surprised. It grew just like it promised it would, looked cute on a small head AND didn’t look ridiculous on a bigger one! So excited was I, that I promptly made two more. Well, by promptly I mean, slowly over the course of two weeks, but whatevs. Here they are!
See? Amazingly stretchy just as promised! The green head size is about a 0-3 month old. The Hat of Many Colors is on a 12 month old. It’s magic!!